(If we only saw a field of flowers stretching out in a hundred rows

We may never truly appreciate the beauty of one rose.)


When I look at the life Deborah and I have had…

to this fact I must attest

With 3 children and 4 grandchildren…

we have both been blessed.


We have been extremely lucky as we’ve watched them grow

to realize how together they set our world aglow.


But we also love to take a moment…on this we both agree

to stop what we are doing…

and think of each one separately.


(If a crowded forest is the only view our eyes will ever see

we may never know the beauty of that solitary tree.)


So periodically we take a moment to look at each child individually

to savor the beauty that is growing on our own family tree.


(If only in the harmony of a choir we rejoice

we may never know the beauty of that one distinctive voice.)


We think back to a time long ago when they were babies…

when they sucked their thumb

and then we look today at the person they’ve become.


We find when we take the time to look at each one individually

we are pleasantly surprised…at what we hear and see.


It seems remembering each child independently 

gives us a moment to rejoice

and listen to the beauty we hear in a single voice.


When we take the time to remember each child individually

is when we discover the beauty and the wonder of that single tree….


Yes, looking at a single child…through their triumphs and their woes


is when we truly appreciate…the beauty of one rose.

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We are dog/house sitting for friends of ours while they are on a cruise

I’ve heard it said you don’t really know a person until you walk a mile in their shoes…


I imagine that is true…in their shoes you walk, you run…you roam

but I also think you get to know a person when you spend time in their home.


As I walk from room to room I realize how their house is their memoir

It’s filled with memories…with bits and pieces of who they were…and are.


I begin to notice how pictures of their family can be found in every room.

It’s like I’m in a museum…I stop…I look…then I resume…


I see old people, young people, babies…pictures spanning generations

all contributing to the story of one family’s creation.


I pause at every picture…and as I visit…one by one…

I suddenly realize how many families go into making one.


I see love portrayed in pictures of people I know and some who remain unnamed

captured for eternity inside a picture frame


Perhaps that’s why we have so many pictures…not only for us to easily see

but every time we pass…it awakens a memory. 


In every picture I can see joy…a smile on every face

proving quite definitively how happiness fills this place.


I’m sure there’s also been some sadness…some tragedy and fear….

Some people in these pictures I’m sure are gone…but their memories linger here.


And we are happy to be sitting in their house as off to other realms they roam…

Knowing not only do they have a beautiful house…they have a beautiful home.




(P.S.   Another reason we’re glad to be in charge as they enjoy their birthday cruise….


They left a bunch of unlocked cabinets…and they’re all filled with booze!)

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It’s apple season in the mountains and with family stopping by

that could only mean one thing…it’s time for apple pie.


The mountains, family, apple pie…we are living the dream.

so for dinner we celebrated with a slice of pie and topped it with ice cream.


We sat on our porch and talked into the evening while listening to the rain.

When we awoke next morning we noticed…half the pie remained.


Our parents taught us never to waste food…for that would be obscene

so for breakfast we had another slice…this time sans ice cream.


If you think pie for dinner then pie for breakfast might lead to our demise

Fear not…we didn’t put ice cream on our breakfast pie…hey, we’re not uncivilized.


After spending a lovely day in Asheville…before we bid the city goodbye

we decided to meet our son for dinner…and he suggested pie!


We looked at one another and smiled…thinking…this must be fate

and when we saw the restaurant served pie flights we hollered…”It’s a date!”


A flight of pies…how novel…how lucky could we be?

Instead of having just one slice…we’d be eating three!


And the waitress will forever tell the story how a group of grown ups cried

when she told them a flight of pies is served with a scoop of ice cream on the side.


I’m not sure if it was being surrounded by family…or the sugar high we were one

but we sat in the restaurant and talked and laughed long after the pies were gone.


Back on the porch for the evening with a crescent moon descending in the sky

I thought to myself how wonderful is the day…that begins and ends with pie.


And how family is like a flight of pies…each one of us a different slice upon the plate

but when you put us all together…you’ve got something that tastes great!


And when you top those slices off…with a dollop of ice cream…

You know you’ve got something special…


you know….you’re living the dream.

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As your children, Moms and Dads, we’d like for you to know

we’re glad you were around to help us all to grow.


You understood that our time as children is short…how it only lasts a little while

In that time you taught us how to be happy…you taught us how to smile.


You showed us that we mattered…we think that is the key

You loved us for who we are…not for who you wanted us to be.


You understood how to be a parent…how we were your priority

You knew your jobs were important…but also…so were we


You knew we were your children…not distractions you could shirk

In fact…you showed us every day we were your most important work.


You taught us to be accepting and kind…so when our childhood ends

We would be good people…good husbands, wives and friends.


Here are two things we’d like to tell you…two things we hope you never forget

The first…we will always be your children no matter how old we get.


The second is just a little something we shall forever be counting on…

always send us a goodnight kiss…even when we’re gone. 


And now that our childhood is ending…(like we said it only lasts a little while)

we want to thank you for giving us the kind of childhood we can look back on and smile.


Thank you for loving us every day…like you did the day we came


and making it so easy…for us to do the same.

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A photo of 3 brothers in a different time

in more innocent and carefree days

3 brothers only children then

before they went their separate ways


A photo of 3 brothers today after life has interfered

The same 3 brothers only in this photo their youth as disappeared.


3 brothers who don’t have much in common now

who don’t often share with one another

who still understand the importance 

of what it is to be a brother… 


3 brothers who don’t see each other often

who have never been birds of a feather

who, realizing life is short,

decide to get together…


3 brothers come together to reminisce

each glad the others came

each knowing how, although they’re different,

they’re still a little bit the same.


3 brothers who realize their importance

in the grand design…

Who know even though they’ve grown apart

their roots are intertwined.


3 brothers who understand they’re branches all grow

from the same majestic family tree

Who are happy knowing wherever life takes them


3 brothers they will always be

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Their mom opened up the cookies in the car…

it was tradition on their trips

their children couldn’t wait for that first bite of cookie to meet up with their lips…


The youngest was named Billy, who was blind, 

not as lucky as you and me

being born into a world of darkness…a world he’ll never see.


But they never bemoaned his affliction, 

tried never to get angry, swear or cry.

They decided if Billy needed help seeing…

they would offer him their eyes.


“But this trip would be a little different.” their mom said, 

"Today you’re all in for a surprise

before I pass out the cookies…

I want you all to close your eyes.”


“Today you’ll see the way Billy sees…

a little test you’ll be completing.

Keep your eyes closed and see if you can tell me 

the kind of cookie you are eating.”


“Chocolate chip!” came a quick answer…

the rest of the children nodded their heads.

Then all eyes turned to Billy who smiled…

”It taste’s like Grandma!” is what he said.


Billy quickly sensed his family’s confusion…

but the smile on his face remained…

and when he finished chewing…he immediately explained.


“You know how Grandma always sings when she bakes cookies…

well I learned  long ago

that as she sings I can hear the music settle in the dough…”


Then I hear the music mixing 

when she turns on the beater

which makes any cookie baked by Grandma 


and taste a little sweeter.”


“There’s more to her cookies than you can see 

if you use your ears not just your sight.

when you close your eyes you can taste it...

Grandma’s songs in every bite.”


“OK!” Mom said. “Everyone close your eyes again…

a second test we’ll be completing.

And after handing out the cookies she asked,

“What kind of cookie you are eating?”


As the children ate their cookies in silence…listening…

their faces were easy to read….

“It still tastes like Grandma!” Billy said…


and everyone agreed.

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I informed my neighbor the bad news…that her old oak tree was dying

The old woman nodded that she understood and then she started crying.


As I watched her I thought to myself how odd…how silly can this old woman be

I can’t believe she’s crying…after all…it’s just a tree.


“My husband planted that tree right after we were married” she said

“He said, like our love we’ll watch it grow…

I can’t believe it’s been so long…that was 50 years ago…”


“I suppose you think I’m crazy…and it doesn’t make much sense to you

but our children climbed her branches…our grandchildren climbed them too.”


“She’s weathered the cold of winter, her Fall colors would burst…then fade,

she’d always come back to us in Spring and in Summer she’d offer up her shade.”


“We had many a picnic under her leaves…sometimes we’d just sit and stare

at the squirrels playing hide and seek and the birds who nested there.”


“And when my husband passed away…as my tears ran down her wood

I felt her branches engulfing me…as if she understood”


“Forgive me if I cry a little…but she’s been so important to me.

We’ve been through so much together…she’s been part of my family.”


And when they came to take her tree away…I knew she’d be feeling blue

So I went to her, I held her hand and asked, “Is it’s okay if I sit with you.”


I let her cry…I let her weep…for in the stillness I could see

That old oak they were removing


was so much more than just a tree.

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Life moves so very fast…moments with our children and grandchildren do not last

We know it happens but we find it hard to understand…

Where did those moments goes…how time both ebbs and flows

for it seems like only yesterday we held them in our hands.


Then all of a sudden…before we know…somehow…they grow…and grow…

And all at once they are standing up…then walking 

Then as odd as it must sound…we all but turned around

in the next instant they have started talking.


Then once again time flies… because we only blink our eyes

and when we open them our children have turned five

then ten, then twelve, then fifteen…we wonder where the time went in between

and when did they become old enough to drive?


And again we look around…and before us…you have found

something that causes us to groan…

Although it’s easy to conceive..,it’s still hard to believe

they are now adults and living on their own.


Now, with their families they come to visit…and it is exquisite 

how some will travel near…some travel far

and as in the door they wander…you have to stop and ponder

when did our grandchildren become taller than we are?


And our age we’re now dismissing as we sit there reminiscing

telling them stories and trying to make them understand

How time has flown away…because it was only yesterday…

when we were sitting here 


holding them in your hands.

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Her Grandma was always ready with a hug as she walked through the door

The kind of hug you don’t forget…that can’t be duplicated any more.


Her Grandma had a certain knack…of making her feel like a star…

Like how she always had her favorite cookies…waiting in her cookie jar.


Like how her Grandma would always listen…smile then agree…

after asking her…when you grow up…what do you want to be?


When she looks back on her Grandma…she thinks what wonderful times those were…

how much she loved her Grandma…how much those visits meant to her…


And now that she’s a grandma…

her grandchildren’s visits follow a familiar theme…

She greets them with a hug, 

a cookie,


and she listens to their dreams.